Purchasing a Mobility Scooter That's Right For You
Are you in the market to purchase a mobility (electric) scooter? What features should you look for during your search? Which of these are essential and which can you live without? Are you on a budget, or is the sky the limit?
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you ponder purchasing a mobility scooter, including tips and insight from Golden Technologies – an American manufacturer of scooters that are available for purchase through Aging Tree.
A mobility scooter is a mobility aid that’s similar to a wheelchair, but confi gured more like a motor scooter, and is usually batt ery powered. Just as with any large purchase, buying a mobility scooter is a process that will benefi t you most if you do your research before you sign on the dott ed line.
Look for comfort, performance, quality, and style in your next scooter. Most of these are directly related to the buyer’s weight allowance requirements, seat size and adjustment needs, maneuverability needs, tiller (steering column) requirements, and the need for ease of assembly.
Let’s start with comfort. Most mobility scooters have a standard weight capacity of 300 pounds. (Remember to consider not only the rider’s weight, but the rider’s weight plus any additional baggage or cargo.) Scooter comfort can be achieved most easily if it has adjustable components, such as length-adjusting capabilities, adjustable handlebars or armrests or seats (including seats that swivel); plus how adjustable the tiller is and what controls are available on it.
Maneuverability is an important performance feature of scooters. Do you need to get in and out of Purchasing a Mobility Scooter That’s Right For You tight spaces while in your scooter? Will you be riding your scooter on uneven surfaces outdoors? Or, do you need an accommodation for an injury or medical condition, such as head or leg rests? Performance is universally important in scooters, and it can vary greatly depending upon where and how often the scooter will be used most. Compact scooters are far different from companion scooters in performance as they address different needs and usage demands, for example.
Other questions to consider before you purchase your mobility scooter:
1. How often will you use the scooter? If your scooter is for occasional use only, such as shopping a few times a week, you may get by comfortably with a scooter that’s less rugged, more stylish (some come with interchangeable, colored panels), and compact and lightweight. But, if you’ll be sitt ing in your scooter for long periods of time, comfort is a must! Scooters that are used fullor nearly full-time are often referred to as companion scooters. For additional comfort during longer periods of time in your scooter, consider choosing stadium-style seats with high backs and armrests. Seats with extra padding and that can swivel may be options you can’t live without, too.
2. Will you mostly use your scooter indoors or outdoors? If you’ll be doing significant outdoor exploring on your mobility scooter, look at purchasing a scooter with four wheels (v. three) for optimum outdoor stability. Just as indoors, you’ll want to fi nd a scooter that’s easy to maneuver in tight spaces, and can reverse. Articulating front wheels (wheels with a pivoting joint) assist in maneuverability, too. If you’re one who’d really rather be outdoors than indoors, a heavy duty scooter may be your ticket for comfortable freedom. Golden Technologies’ heavy duty scooters, for example, come with “off – road” options, 400-lb or 500- lb weight capacity, and a full lighting package.
3. Will you want to transport your scooter on or in your vehicle? If so, look for a compact and portable scooter; these are sometimes called “travel scooters.” Several scooter designs are considered compact, such as the Golden Buzzaround Series by Golden Technologies. Research scooters that have an easy disassembly (a “wireBy Vickie Pleus less” assembly fi ts within this description), and how long it typically takes to assemble and disassemble them.
4. What other accessories or features are helpful or popular? Mobility scooters have features that you may not have known were available. Some scooter models come with built-in cane/ crutch holders; headlights for outdoor use or path-illuminating lights for indoor, nightt ime use, or tail lights; shopping baskets; and washable carpet.
5. What’s your budget for purchasing a scooter? Scooter prices are as varied as the products themselves. Lightweight, easily transportable scooters can cost as litt le as several hundred dollars, while sturdier, heavy-use scooters can close in on $2,000. Know the scooter features you need, then think about the scooter features you want, and consult a reputable salesperson for their input.
Thinking about how you’ll most often use your scooter, where and when you’ll be using it and your available budget will help you make an educated purchasing decision. Aging Tree representatives can tell you even more about them, too. Stop by or call (866) 320-8803 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Vickie Pleus, APR, CPRC
Vickie Pleus, APR, CPRC, is the president of VP Communications, a public-relations consultancy based in DeLand, Fla. VP Communications provides integrated marketing communications, public relations, social media, corporate writing and more to small businesses and nonprofit organizations.